Thursday 23

The Italian government includes RRI in its National Research Programme

Posted by Fondazione Cariplo on 23 Jun 2016

Last May the Italian government launched its National Research Programme (PNR), the instrument for defining Italian policies on research and innovation. It aims to translate citizens' needs into programmes and calls to steer research and innovation for the next three years.

Considering we have been waiting for two years to have the National Research Programme, there clearly was a great expectation.

Echoing the European approach, Italy has identified six key pillars around which research and innovation should be developed:

  1. Human capital
  2. Private and public cooperation
  3. Internationalization
  4. Actions for the South
  5. Programmes for the infrastructures
  6. Efficacy in the funding management

For each of these pillars the Ministry identified a number of actions differently aimed to turn discourses into practices.

How is this related to RRI? Well, Responsible Research and Innovation has been included in two chapters of the document.

The first mention is under the human capital chapter. There, within the action aimed to foster Italian research excellence, we find a direct reference to RRI as fundamental ingredient of any research group aiming to make a difference in the research community within and outside the national boundaries. For this action the government predicts a budget of 150 million euros for the next three years.

The second time RRI is mentioned in the Programme, is in the chapter dedicated to private and public cooperation. In particular, the government fosters the development of an instrument that gathers Italian experiences related to RRI through a balanced participation of public and private entities in order to:

  • map Italian engagement in terms of RRI;
  • develop recommendations to develop a policy on RRI in the next future;
  • act to facilitate the development of a strong network between all the actors participating and interested in RRI;
  • define an ethical framework for the development of proper guidelines;
  • and develop a structure to integrate RRI in every stages of research and innovation (ex ante, in itinere, ex post).

Lastly the Ministry aims to facilitate and support research dissemination to foster the participation of all stakeholders differently implicated in the process of knowledge, research and innovation construction. The total budget predicted for these action is 1 million in the next three years Clearly this is not the end, but just the beginning of a long process of integrating RRI within the practices of research and innovation in Italy. Nonetheless, it seems a great step towards a more open, transparent and inclusive science. This is especially true for a country like Italy which has been struggling to enter the debate over science and society. We hope the wind is changing.

Valentina Amorese

Valentina Amorese works on RRI Tools at the Fondazione Cariplo in Milan, the RRI Tools Hub coordinator for Italy and Switzerland

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